The Apprentice 2023 Week 2: Who got fired last night, who won, who was in the boardroom and what was the task?

Lord Sugar is back on our television screens looking for his latest business partner.

This week saw the second episode of popular reality television business show The Apprentice – the 17th series to be helmed by entrepreneur Lord Sugar.

Each week will see a cast of wannabe millionaires take on a challenge to impress their possible future business parter and his trusted aides.

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The victorious candidate will receive a bumper £250,000 cash injection into their business, as well as invaluable advice and mentoring for the Amstrad tycoon.

This year will see 18 candidates battle it out for the prize – the largest number since the 13th series.

Here’s what happened in the latest episode, broadcast at 9pm on Thursday, January 12 – and now available to watch on the BBC iPlayer.

What was the task?

After a globetrotting first episode in the Caribbean island of Antigua, the candidates were back in London for the second task.

The Apprentice 2023 Candidates: (Front row seated left to right) Denisha Kaur Bharj, Joe Phillips, Megan Hornby, Shannon Martin, Kevin D'Arcy, Emma Browne, (middle row left to right) Avi Sharma, Bradley Johnson, Mark Moseley, Shazia Hussain, Sohail Chowdhary, Rochelle Anthony, (Back Row left to right) Marnie Swindells, Simba Rwambiwa, Dani Donovan, Gregory Ebbs, Victoria Goulbourne, and Reece Donnelly, the new candidates for this year's BBC One contest, The Apprentice.

Under the watchful eye of Baroness Karren Brady and Tim Campbell – who was officially announced as former aide Claude Littner’s replacement – the teams were challenged to come up with a winning recipe for bao buns, beofre pitchingh them to business owners and selling them to the general public at markets.

Who won the task?

The candidates continue to be split by gender into two teams – ahead of an expected reshuffle next week.

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The men's team appointed Bradley as project manager, while the women chose Megan as their leader.

The women’s team designed a fish bao bun combining basa and katsu sauce, while the men went for a chicken and chorizo bun with a harissa paste.

After deducting costs – the women spent significantly more but also sold more – the men brought earned just £599.35, leaving the women to enjoy an easy win with a profit of £754.60.

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Who entered the boardroom?

Project manager Bradley brought Kevin, who was in charge of pricing the buns, and banker Avi into the boardroom.

Who was fired?

In an early series twist, Bridal Boutique owner Shannon Martin quit the series after only two tasks – meaning two people left the process this week.

Explaining her decision, she said: “I think that going into the process, I was already having some doubts of whether I should go in or not. But when you're given such an amazing opportunity, you're not ever going to turn that down, it's an opportunity of a lifetime that I'm forever grateful for. During the bao bun task, I was there in the kitchen thinking ''Why am I here? What am I doing here making bao buns in a kitchen when I can't cook as it is?''

And in the boardroom Lord Sugar decided to fire Dublin accountant Kevin D’Arcy.

Asked if he would have done things differently in retrospect, he said: “I think I would have tried to put myself on the corporate team for the bao bun task, that’s where the ship sank, and I think those guys steered it straight for the iceberg. I was fired because I wasn’t able to deploy the lifeboats quick enough. I clearly watched Titanic over Christmas!”

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Who is left in the process?

The following candidates remain in the process, and this is why they say they deserve to win:

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Avi Sharma, city banker, London

“Lord Sugar’s investment will help me escape the rat race of a banking job. I’m the hardest working rat he’ll ever meet.”

Bradley Johnson, Construction Company Director, North Yorkshire

“I deserve Lord Sugar’s investment because I have a proven business and a strong can-do attitude. I have a business plan that will see us turn over seven figures after year three and who knows where else that could take us.”

Dani Donovan, hair salon owner, Hertfordshire

“I deserve Lord Sugar’s investment because I have a business that there is a huge gap in the market for. I feel my business is something that is actually really current, it’s something that I think will appeal to lots of different people. It baffles me that no one has done it yet!”

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Denisha Kaur Bharj, Financial Controller, Leicestershire

“I’m a woman who wants to create an empire and have it all; to be able to provide for my family and to be an inspiration to young women. I dream big, but I work extra hard and know everything is possible. I want to build an empire, with my first step being in business with Lord Sugar. I want to be mentored by the best to be the best.”

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Gregory Ebbs, Online Antiques Marketplace owner, Shropshire

“I deserve Lord Sugar’s investment because I’ve got the experience and the vision to push my business forward and make it a resounding success. I think the chances of making this business super successful is greater than anybody else’s, because it’s such a fantastic principle. I think I’m leading the way in e-commerce for antiques.”

Joe Phillips, Safari Guide, Worcestershire

"I don’t deserve Lord Sugar’s investment more than anyone else in the process, but I do think I have something that they don’t. If Lord Sugar wants to invest in a business to help save the ocean, one lip balm at a time, then I’m his guy.”

Mark Moseley, Pest Control Company owner, London

"I deserve Lord Sugar’s investment because the pest control industry is worth hundreds of millions of pounds a year in the UK. Out of all the candidates on paper, I am the one who can grow the business the quickest. If Lord Sugar doesn’t pick me, then he’s missing a trick.”

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Marnie Swindells, Court Advocate, London

"I deserve Lord Sugar’s investment because I have given my blood, sweat and tears to my business. I think that taking the experience I have in the boxing industry and all the experience that he has in the business industry, together we would be a winning combination. I have fought tooth and nail to get to where I am today with my business. I deserve the chance to have that investment to show him what I can do with it.”

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Megan Hornby, Sweet Shop & Cafe owner, East Yorkshire

"I deserve Lord Sugar’s investment because I’ve already proven, at such a young age, that I’m innovative and hard-working. I’ve started a business that has a real niche. I’ve found a gap in the market, and I’ve made a success of it so far. I really think that with Lord Sugar’s investment, my business could be nationally recognised.”

Reece Donnelly, Theatre School owner, Glasgow

"Lord Sugar has never invested in a Scottish candidate and I’m here to prove that Scotland is filled with forward-thinking entrepreneurs and that we are not in fact a haggis-eating, kilt-wearing nation. My proven track record of starting, scaling and ultimately turning businesses into a success, along with Lord Sugar’s knowledge and contacts, is a recipe for success.”

Rochelle Anthony, Hair Salon & Academy owner, Bedfordshire

"I deserve Lord Sugar’s investment because I know the hair industry like the back of my hand and Lord Sugar knows business. Together, we would be an absolute force to be reckoned with.”

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Shazia Hussain, Technology Recruiter, London

“I deserve Lord Sugar’s investment for my ability to identify niches in business and to develop them into USPs. It’s important to see a varied representation of women, including women with neurodiversity in business, as people with neurodiversity are linked to being increasingly successful within the corporate sector. I hope that I’ll encourage more people like me not to be ashamed of their difference. It’s okay to be different. It can make you extremely successful within business."

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Simba Rwambiwa, Senior Sales Representative, Birmingham

“I deserve Lord Sugar’s business investment because I have a business that not only guarantees profit, but also guarantees to improve the quality of peoples’ lives.”

Sohail Chowdhary, Martial Arts School owner, Southampton

"I was raised in a council house and I’m proud of that, but that means I’ve had to fight hard to achieve the comfortable life I lead today. I’ve got a proven track record behind me and if the previous five years are anything to go by, the next five are going to be something special. Plus, owning a martial arts business means Lord Sugar can learn how to kick ass for free.”

Victoria Goulbourne, Online Sweet Business owner, Merseyside

"I deserve Lord Sugar’s investment as I’m adaptable and have a keen business acumen. During the pandemic I had to change my career suddenly, I identified a gap in the market where there are no pick and mix sweets presented aesthetically. My business took off quickly and with Lord Sugar’s investment I know it could fly.”

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